Published on : Friday, May 2, 2014
As part of a new attempt to draw tourists and burnish the image of this North African country, Imperial storm troopers are set to march through Tunisia’s capital. Their parade ground is downtown Tunis’ stately, tree-lined Bourguiba Avenue, where young activists fought squads of riot police in 2011 during their Arab Spring revolution.
Parade is part of a new innovative campaign to bring tourists back to this sunny nation.
The Tunisian National Office for Tourism has united with the country’s Star Wars fan club to stage its first Star Wars encounter in the country with participating fan clubs from Europe that will feature the parade in the capital and then film screenings and events in Tunisia’s Deep South – home of the sets from many Star Wars movies.
The campaign commenced with Tunisia’s own video of recording artist Pharrell Williams’ wildly famouse “Happy” song, featuring Star Wars characters dancing around Tunisian tourist sites and the sand-covered desert movie sets. The video has been viewed 1.7 million times since it was posted in March and was tweeted by Williams himself.
Zied Chargui, director of the National Office of Tunisian Tourism and one of the brains behind the new efforts to attract tourism that go beyond subway billboards in European capitals, said, “We did this campaign to take advantage of these sets which are unique in the world – the only sites from the movies remaining. It created a global buzz which makes us very happy, We will try to keep working on this idea up until the release of the 2015 film.”
After President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown in 2011, Tunisia was rocked by labor turmoil, terrorist attacks and political assassinations, which distressed the key tourism sector. In the past few months, there has been a return to stability, and a renewed effort to bring back tourists. Contributing 7 percent of GDP and employing 400,000 people, the sector is considered key to saving the country’s battered economy.
Tourist counts have been progressively growing since the industry nearly collapsed in 2011 but the 6.2 million arrivals in 2013 are still 9 percent less than 2010. The latest campaign seeks to publicize desert tourism and, of course the Star Wars sets.
Tags: Tunisian National Office